Kevin Willmott to receive Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award

Kevin Willmott to receive “Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award”

Fort Scott, Kan.—Filmmaker Kevin Willmott will be the recipient of the “Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award” at the annual Gordon Parks Celebration, which will be held November 3-5 in Fort Scott, Kan. The Gordon Parks Celebration, a component of the Gordon Parks Museum/Center, was created in 2004 by Fort Scott Community College to honor Fort Scott native Gordon Parks, noted photographer, writer, musician, and filmmaker.
 
At the culmination of the first year’s events, the Choice of Weapons Award was established in Parks’ honor to be given annually at the Celebration. Named after his autobiography of the same name, the award seeks to honor a recipient who excelled in one of the areas that Gordon Parks did and who exemplifies the spirit and strength of character of Gordon Parks.
 
Previous recipients include actor and musician Avery Brooks, photographer Howard L. Bingham, Elizabeth Eckford and Ernest Green, two of the “Little Rock Nine,” Richard Roundtree, star of the Parks-directed film, “Shaft,” Nichelle Nichols of “Star Trek” fame, acclaimed actress Ruby Dee, photographer John Shearer, LIFE magazine photo editor Bobbi Burrows, Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker, musicians Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., and Genevieve Young.
 
“We are so pleased to honor Kevin this year,” said Jill Warford, Gordon Parks Museum Director. “He is a filmmaker like Gordon and he is building a legacy of creating and directing films that have social impact on our society and give us cause to think about many issues.”
 
Willmott is a Professor in the Media and Film Studies Department of Kansas University. He co-wrote and is the Executive Producer of the critically acclaimed film, Chi-Raq, directed by Spike Lee. The film is on numerous best of 2015 lists including best film and best screenplay by The New Yorker Magazine.
 
Willmott’s feature film, Jayhawkers, tells the story of a group of unlikely allies who modernized college sports and changed Kansas University during the early stages of the Civil Rights movement.Willmott wrote and directed the critically acclaimed feature film C.S.A: Confederate States Of America, about America, had the South won the  Civil War. After its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, IFC Films purchased the film for domestic theatrical distribution. The film is presented by Spike Lee. CSA was released theatrically in the U.S. by IFC and was distributed in several foreign countries.

Wilmott directed The Only Good Indian, 2009, starring Wes Studi. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is currently being seen on the Encore and Movieplex television networks, and can be streamed online at Netflix.
 
The award winning film, The Battle for Bunker Hill, 2008, starred NYPD Blue's James McDaniel. Willmott is producer and director of Bunker Hill, from a script he wrote with Greg Hurd.
 
Willmott’s first feature film, Ninth Street, starring Martin Sheen and Isaac Hayes, was written, produced and co-directed by Willmott.Willmott was also executive producer of the critically acclaimed feature film, The Sublime and the Beautiful directed by Blake Robbins.
 
For television, Willmott co-wrote House Of Getty and The 70's, both mini-series for NBC. In 2005, he produced High-Tech Lincoln, a special which premiered on The History Channel. As a screenwriter, Willmott co-wrote Shields Green and The Gospel Of John Brown with Mitch Brian. The script was purchased by Chris Columbus' 1492 Productions for 20th Century Fox. He has also co-wrote Civilized Tribes for producer Robert Lawrence and 20th Century Fox.
 
Producer and director Oliver Stone hired him to co-write Little Brown Brothers, about the Philippine Insurrection and to adapt the book Marching To Valhalla by Michael Blake. Willmott recently adapted and directed a stage version of The Watsons Go To Birmingham in New York and at Kansas City's Coterie Theater. The play T-Money And Wolf, written with Ric Averill, dealing with the holocaust and contemporary gang violence, was selected as part of the New Vision/New Voices series produced by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The play is published by Dramatic Publishing.
 
Willmott directed the premiere performances of Now Let Me Fly, a new play by Marcia Cebulska commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision to segregate public schools. The performances featured actors James McDaniel (NYPD Blue), Roger Aaron Brown (The District) and Yolanda King, and musical performers Queen Bey and Kelley Hunt.
 
Willmott grew up in Junction City, Kansas and attended Marymount College receiving his BA in Drama. After graduation, he returned home, working as a peace and civil rights activist, fighting for the rights of the poor, creating two Catholic Worker shelters for the homeless and forcing the integration of several long standing segregated institutions. He attended graduate studies at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, receiving several writing awards and his Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing.
 
Currently, Willmott directed the soon to be released feature film, The Profit starring Scot Pollard, of KU and NBA fame and two documentaries Fast Break: The story of Legendary Coach John McClendon and an upcoming project on famed journalist, William Allen White.
 
Kevin Willmott will be honored at a dinner on Friday, November 4. Ticket information and the full schedule will be posted at a later date on the website gordonparkscenter.org. For more information, email gordonparkscenter@fortscott.edu or call 223-2700, ext. 5850.